“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Dallas in Paulding County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)

New Hope Church Cemetery

"The Hell Hole"


— Atlanta Campaign Heritage Trail —

New Hope Church Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 19, 2019
1. New Hope Church Cemetery Marker
Inscription.  The cemetery and former sanctuary for New Hope Church became parts of a battlefield on Wednesday, May 25, 1864. The Federal 20th Corps, commanded by Major General Joseph Hooker, attacked Confederate Major General Alexander P. Stewart's division. Brigadier General Marcellus A. Stovall's Georgia brigade, led that day by Colonel Abda Johnson of the 40th Georgia Infantry Regiment, defended this portion of the Confederate line.

Three days earlier Union Major General William T. Sherman began moving his armies toward Dallas and away from their Western and Atlantic Railroad supply line. Sherman's intent was to march around the “left flank” of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's army. General Hooker's corps was the first sizeable Federal unit to approach the New Hope crossroads. Sherman ordered Hooker to attack, believing only light enemy resistance opposed them. But the Confederates had also moved quickly to the New Hope crossroads and were well prepared.

The Alabama brigade of Confederate Brigadier General Henry D. Clayton was positioned to the east of Colonel Johnson's. Clayton used log and dirt

New Hope Church Cemetery and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 19, 2019
2. New Hope Church Cemetery and Marker
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entrenchments to strengthen his position. But Johnson's men had only headstones in the cemetery for cover because they were reluctant to dig among the graves. Brigadier General Randall L. Gibson's Louisiana brigade was aligned to the rear of Johnson for support. These three brigades subsequently inflicted heavy casualties on the attacking Federal divisions. To the east of the cemetery was Confederate Brigadier General Alpheus Baker's Alabama brigade.

General Hooker's men attacked in columns, each division presenting only a one-brigade front. The dense woods and tangled underbrush cut by deep ditches made their attack very difficult. Federal troops nicknamed this area "The Hell Hole.” As their columns advanced Brigadier General Alpheus S. Williams ordered his division to the double quick, followed by Brigadier General John W. Geary's division. Finally, Major General Daniel Butterfield's division attacked the right of the Confederate line. As each brigade neared the foot of a slope at a trot the full force of Confederate fire greeted them. The Federals lost over 1,500 men; the Confederates fewer than 500.

A blinding summer thunderstorm struck at about 7:30 pm as the battle neared its end, compounding the misery of the wounded that lay on the field. Many unknown soldiers were buried here, both North and South. Confederate Private Sam

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Watkins later noted, “The trees look as if they had been cut down for new ground, being mutilated and shivered by musket and cannon balls. Horses were writhing in their death agony and the sickening odor of battle filled the air."

The Battle of New Hope Church was the first of three major battles in close proximity to one another over a four-day period. The Federals attacked again two days later, on May 27th at Pickett's Mill, in an attempt to turn the Confederates right flank.
Erected by Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails, Inc. (Marker Number 20.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Georgia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 25, 1864.
Location. 33° 57.469′ N, 84° 47.43′ W. Marker is near Dallas, Georgia, in Paulding County. Marker is at the intersection of Chester Harris Drive and Dallas Acworth Highway (Georgia Route 381), on the right when traveling west on Chester Harris Drive. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Chester Harris Drive, Dallas GA 30132, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Worst Aircraft Disaster in Georgia History (here, next to this marker); New Hope Battlefield (within shouting distance

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of this marker); The Federal Attack on Hood’s Corps (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The March of Hardee’s Corps, May 23-25, 1864 (about 400 feet away); Battle of New Hope Church (about 500 feet away); Polk’s March to Lost Mountain (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Battle of New Hope Church (about 500 feet away); New Hope Church Phase of Atlanta Campaign (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dallas.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 24, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 24, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 125 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 24, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Oct. 18, 2021